Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sarah Palin, Blood Libel and Truth

A court of law arrives at truth through the presentation of evidence. But while there will be some overlap, such evidentiary truth is not the way Christian theologians and Jewish Rabbis arrive at what is true and good and without sin. They use  Biblical truth, to determine whether the act in question can be backed up by what is written in the Biblical scriptures.  Those who blame Sarah Palin for the Arizona shootings because of her website with the crosshairs over Gabrielle Giffords' district are expressing contextual truth.  This means of verifying what is real looks at the almost infinite number of ways in which a troubled young man can express his insanity, and asks: "what messages flowing through the larger society, might have pushed Jared Lee Loughner to express his mental symptoms by shooting Congresswoman Giffords in the head, and killing six others?"  Giffords' prescient warning in an MSNBC interview last year that Sarah Palin's targeted list and other such rhetoric have consequences was yet another example of contextual truth.  
Palin, Glenn Beck, Hannity, Tea Party leaders and others insist that there is no evidence to prove that the shooter even saw Palin's website.  So, they are simply using the most convenient system of truth, which in this case is evidentiary truth or what would be required in a court of law to prove innocence or guilt. Each of these forms of truth are valid and accepted within mainstream American culture.  However, political disputes heat up when each side chooses the system of truth most relevant to proving the point they wish to make.

But Palin may have slipped up when she used the term "blood libel," to describe her feelings of being victimized and falsely accused by the press and others.  The reason is because "blood libel" is the ultimate example of contextual truth.  Lies about Jews using the blood of Christian babies in secret rituals stir up anti-Semitic hatreds and thus become the justification for pogroms and other forms of religious persecution against Jews.
Post a Comment